Bryan Middleton

Bryan took the risk to return to University as a mature student and ended up with the job of his dreams.

BSc Sport and Exercise, 2017

What does your job involve?

What we do is performance analysis for Derby County Football Club. We essentially review the performance of the team based on specific indicators. 

I work with the Academy team, that covers under 12s up to the under 23s.

Basically I make sure the coaches have video footage of the team, which is coded so they can be given specific clips or statistics to either back up what they’ve already been seeing or highlight something that could make a difference.

Is this very much a dream job for you?

I worked in social housing before I went back to university and I wasn’t enjoying it.

I was already aware of the role as a career path because my future brother-in-law actually does a similar job at Manchester Utd. Seeing what he did made me want to take the steps to get there by going back to university.

I’m meeting new people and I’m experiencing new things and that’s all thanks to the decision to go back to university.
Bryan Middleton | Derby County | Academy Performance Analyst

Did you have any apprehension about going back to university as a mature student?

I had to convince my partner that we were going to be fine, with me giving up full time work and going into a part time job. Then there was the fact I’d be the best part of 10 years older than many other students there.

Obviously though it worked out great for me.

Tell me more about how you ended up at Derby?

While I was at university I took the opportunity to do unpaid internships and work experience in the field. I did some work with Hibs, Forfar Farmington and Dundee Utd. It meant that when I graduated I already had the kind of work experience that a lot of teams ask for.

I applied to lots of different teams, then Derby gave me an interview. I came through that and got the job!

It sounds like work experience was very important for you?

It was vital. People in the industry will tell you that the degree ticks one box and it’s the experience you gain while studying that’s makes the difference. You really want to hit the ground running.

Although it’s not great to do unpaid work it was absolutely essential to get me to where I am now.

How did your time at Abertay help you?

It was massive. My job is essentially one giant research project. Just about every day involves some sort of data collection. We’re analysing that data and presenting it back at regular intervals.

We were also quite lucky in that all of our lecturers were excellent. They were all encouraging. If you came to them with any sort of idea they’d encourage you and push you. Even when you’d speak to them after classes on a more informal basis they’d give you little pieces of advice. I can’t speak highly enough of the staff.

What advice do you have for our current students?

Do work experience if you can – especially if you know what you want to do after graduating. Even if you don’t, getting that experience is vital.

As for anyone considering going back to university as a mature student – if you want to make it happen you can, although there may be sacrifices you have to make.

The experience of going back was life-changing for me. I’ve come out of university with a new career, I’m based in Derby and I’m doing a job I love. I’m meeting new people and I’m experiencing new things and that’s all thanks to the decision to go back to university.

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